For anyone wanting a unique tasting experience, I can definitely recommend Bilton Wines. They offer a restaurant, picnics, play area for kids, vineyard walks and a state of the art tasting center.
At around 377 hectares it is the largest privately owned wine farm in Stellenbosch and thus I also expected the largest cellar in Stellenbosch. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to learn that cellar handles only about a third of the grapes (about 100 tons) compared to the average Stellenbosch wine farm.
The farm’s history goes back to 1726, when the first vines were planted. In 1959 Don Bilton, who was knighted for his charity work, but never used his title, bought the farm. The famous Sir Percy (a classic French style blend) is to this day made in his honor.
In 1996 they undertook a massive re planting operation and they currently have 79 hectares on which 12 cultivars are grown. To ensure no compromise on quality, and under the watchful eye of consultant Giorgio Dalla Cia, only the cream of the crop, the best 20% of the grapes are hand picked and used in their wines.
The Bilton Sir Percy is one of their flagship wines.
The quality shines through. Their latest accolades includes 4.5 Star John Platter ratings for their 2008 Cabernet, 2008 Shiraz and 2008 Sir Percy. Unfortunately we were not able to taste the very exclusive, first of it’s kind in SA, 500% oaked The Bilton, but I believe it is something that any serious wine lover owes him-/herself. In my view their best kept secret, however, is the 2008 Viognier, with Acacia wood normally reserved for use in grappa!
Chocolate and Wine – WOW!
Next time you find your way to Bilton, make sure you treat yourself to this unique experience, and be sure to ask for Moira, who adds a great deal of value to the experience. Prepare yourself for a taste explosion! Initially Belgium chocolates were used, but in recent years they have opted for locally produced chocolate. Every year the chocolate is changed and remodeled according to the vintage and I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring.
2008 Cabernet is paired with Dark Espresso chocolate – dark, sultry and sexy!
2008 Shiraz is paired with Milk Cape Malay Chocolate – I am definitely getting me some of this for Easter (and my birthday, and Christmas) – warm, spicy and inviting!
2008 Merlot is paired with Dark Cherry and Malt Chocolate – fruity with the most mouthwatering fragrance.
2009 Pinotage is paired with Milk Rose chocolate – an unmistakable Turkish Delight explosion.
2012 Bonnie Anna Sauvignon Blanc is paired with White Lime and Crispy Apple Chocolate – a fresh summer zing that leaves you rejuvenated and ready for another round!
All of the chocolates and wines are sold via the tasting room at incredibly good prices. For more info visit them at http://www.biltonwines.com.
Detour to Bilton next time you are in the valley, you will not be disappointed, but your diet might take a serious knock!
Also published on http://www.wine-sa.com/wine-news/bilton-wines-in-stellenbosch/